Medical and Military History in South Africa

16 - 30 Jan 2023
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

This tour takes you on a personal and historical journey through South Africa, revealing the many faces of this beautiful and diverse land. Both tour leader Dr Paul Luckin and national guide Frank Mbete lived and worked in South Africa during apartheid; one in medicine and one in education. Their stories and recollections of the era add fascinating depth to the tour, providing rare personal insights into this period of history.

The tour starts with the Afrikaans history of the nation in Pretoria and continues with African and colonial history in Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), KwaZulu-Natal, Ladysmith and Cape Town.

Learn about South Africa’s overlapping medical, military and cultural histories as you travel from Johannesburg and Pretoria into Mpumalanga safari country and take game drives in the Kruger National Park. Continue into Eswatini with its rich culture and plethora of bird and animal life before continuing to culturally distinct KwaZulu-Natal. Continue to the historic town of Ladysmith and explore the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu and Boer Wars. Travel to the cosmopolitan harbour city of Cape Town, from where you will explore the city, Cape and the Stellenbosch wine region.

Your journey is punctuated with regular specialist visits and talks that provide deep insight into South Africa. There is also an optional pre tour extension to beautiful Victoria Falls.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​Dr Paul Luckin

​Dr Paul Luckin

Dr Paul Luckin AM CStJ MB.BCh.(Rand.), D.A.(S.A.), F.F.A.(S.A.), M.MED.ANAESTHESIA (Natal), FANZCA is an anaesthetist in Brisbane. He started training in rescue as an ambulance paramedic in Tasmania before studying medicine in South Africa, where he spent 8 years in a Mountain Rescue Team. Paul served on the Tasmanian Ambulance Service Medical Advisory Council, was Director of the Advanced Airway Management Training Program and was President of Royal Life Saving Society Tasmania Branch.

Paul teaches Search and Rescue at the state and national level and is on the directing staff of the National Police Search and Rescue Managers Course. He provides advice on survivability during Search and Rescue operations to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and Police Search and Rescue teams across the nation, in PNG and the Solomon Islands.

As a Captain in the Royal Australian Navy, Paul has been a member of the Submarine Escape Rescue Abandonment Service medical team. He has served in Bougainville, East Timor, the Solomon Islands, in the Resuscitation and Retrieval Team for the victims of the Bali bombs, in the first medical team into Banda Aceh following the tsunami, and in Afghanistan. He was Medical Director, Medical Services Branch, St John Ambulance Queensland, and has been invested as a Commander of the Order of St John (CStJ). For his work in SAR, in 2006 Paul received the Australian National Search & Rescue Award, and in 2015 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia, AM, for significant service to the community through emergency medicine, and as an authority on survivability in search and rescue operations.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance


  • Pre-Tour Day 1 Johannesburg / Victoria Falls (Fri 13, Jan) Mid-morning flight to Victoria Falls. Arrive Victoria Falls early afternoon.
  • Pre-Tour Day 2 Victoria Falls (Sat 14, Jan) Guided tour of Victoria Falls with the afternoon at leisure. Evening cruise on an open sided boat for a Zambezi sunset.
  • Pre-Tour Day 3 Victoria Falls/ Jo’burg / (Sun 15, Jan) Fly back to Johannesburg and check in to 54 On Bath hotel.

Main Tour

  • Day 1: Johannesburg (Mon 16, Jan) Arrive Johannesburg and transfer to the hotel. Visit Constitution Hill, formerly known as Hospital Hill, and take a brief orientation of central Johannesburg.
  • Day 2: Johannesburg (Tues 17, Jan) Surface tour of Cullinan Diamond Mine. Sightseeing tour through Pretoria including the Voortrekker Monument and the Union Buildings and see the large statue of Nelson Mandela. Talk: “The History of the Afrikaans Nation and the origins of Apartheid”.
  • Day 3: Johannesburg (Wed 18, Jan) Drive to Soweto and explore the township, including the Baragwanath taxi rank area, Freedom Square and Nelson Mandela’s former home. After lunch at a shebeen, visit Baragwanath hospital, a 3000-bed specialist acute hospital. Hear a talk about life under the Nationalist government during the days of apartheid.
  • Day 4: Johannesburg / Hazyview (Thurs 19, Jan) Visit the Adler Medical Museum for a fascinating glimpse into South Africa’s medical, dental and pharmacological past, from the 20th century polio epidemics, to the first ECG machine in the country. Afterwards, drive into the spectacular safari country of Mpumalanga. Talk: "History of the Kruger National Park". Stop at the Bergendal Boer War battlefield. Arrive Hazyview and transfer to your safari lodge. At leisure before dinner.
  • Day 5: Hazyview (Fri 20, Jan) Pre-dawn game drive in the Kruger National Park in open safari vehicle to spot the ‘Big Five’ alongside many mammal, bird and reptile species. Have a bush lunch and return to the lodge in the early evening.
  • Day 6: Hazyview (Sat 21, Jan) Explore some of the most spectacular scenery on offer in South Africa along the Panorama Route. With stunning views of the Lowveld, your tour includes God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Blyde River Canyon, the famous Three Rondavels and the gold rush town of Pilgrims Rest. Boma dinner under the stars.
  • Day 7: Hazyview / Mlilwane, Eswatini (Sun 22, Jan) Drive into the Royal Kingdom of Eswatini. Arrive in the beautiful Mlilwane National Park and spend the night in traditional Swazi ‘beehive’ huts. Dinner is at Hippo Haunt restaurant, built on stilts and extending over a waterhole that is home to wildlife.
  • Day 8: Mlilwane, Eswatini (Mon 23, Jan) At leisure with options for birdwatching, bike trails or cultural excursions. Sunset game drive in open top safari vehicles in Mlilwane National Park.
  • Day 9: Eswatini / Ladysmith (Tue 24, Jan) Optional bird watching before breakfast. Drive to Ladysmith. Talk: "The background and consequences of the Boer War". Stop at the historical town of Piet Retief, officially eMkhondo. Arrive in Ladysmith, established in 1850 as a staging-post, and check in to Battlefields Country Lodge. Talk: “Mountain Rescue in the Drakensberg”.
  • Day 10: Ladysmith (Wed 25, Jan) Tour the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu wars with a local battlefield guide. Visit Isandlwana, where the Zulu army defeated a large British military force, and Rorke’s Drift, where 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded. The guide will provide talks on the conflicts and on the battlefield medicine during the Zulu Wars.
  • Day 11: Ladysmith / Cape Town (Thurs 26, Jan) Visit the Siege Museum and learn of the Siege of Ladysmith and the Boer War. Drive to Durban to fly to Cape Town and check in to Winchester Mansions. Dinner on the V&A waterfront.
  • Day 12: Cape Town (Fri 27, Jan) Tour of Cape Town before a visit to Groote Schuur Hospital, internationally renowned as a medical training ground. Take part in an escorted tour of the Heart of Cape Town Museum, which tells the history of the world’s first heart transplant that took place here in 1967. Accompanied by an ex-political prisoner, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.
  • Day 13: Cape Town (Sat 28, Jan) Take a cable car ride up to Table Mountain for spectacular views. Continue on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean, for wonderful views across False Bay and visit the penguin colony at Boulders Beach. Dinner at the acclaimed Societi Bistro.
  • Day 14: Cape Town (Sun 29, Jan) Visit Stellenbosch and take part in chocolate and wine tasting at the Lanzerac Wine Estate. Lunch and wine tasting at the Fairview Wine Estate, followed by a cheese and wine tasting. Return to Cape Town. Farewell dinner at Gold restaurant.
  • Day 15: Cape Town (Mon 30, Jan) Depart Cape Town.

Tour cost

Ground only cost of the tour is USD $5,597 per person sharing

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